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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15792
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My dog, unspayed female of unknown age, about 15 pounds started

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My dog, unspayed female of unknown age, about 15 pounds started vomiting yesterday afternoon. at first it was just a bit foXXXXX XXXXXke she drank too much water to fast. She seemed to be fine after an couple hours and had some kibble. an hour or so later she began to vomit a mucousy pinkish fluid. She vomited several times, drank some water and curled up in a corner to sleep. Several hours after this, she was unable to stand and her breathing became labored. Throughout all of this there was no distension of her abdomen, no noticeable pain when we felt her stomach. We took her to the emergency vet and within minutes went into a coma and died. What would cause such a quick death (12 hours from the first time she vomited)with no previous symptoms of illness?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog question today.

Was there any possibility she got into something unusual before she got sick?

Do you know approximately when her last heat cycle was?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She tends to dig in the trash so we watch her carefully, so I don't think she had opportunity to get into anything unusual.


Her last cycle was about 3 weeks ago.


I am concerned because we have another new addition ( a 1 year/4month unspayed female larger dog) that we have not taken for shots and a vet check up yet (she's scheduled to go in next week).



Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Had your older girl had any vaccines?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am not sure. we had only had her a couple months. She was due to be euthanized at the pound so we rescued her. She was due to go in at the same time as our young one.

Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

First and most importantly, I am so sorry for your loss. It's always heart breaking when you lose a companion, and I think that heartbreak is intensified when the cause of the death is still in question.

There are autopsies done on animals - they're called 'necropsies', and your regular vet can do one, or you can request an independent necropsy be done at a different clinic to determine her cause of death. This obviously can only be done if the death is fresh and the animal hasn't been sent for cremation.


As for the cause of death, without being able to see her and do any testing or knowing her complete medical history, it's hard to say for sure what caused her sudden death, however from my experience in the veterinary world combined with your description of her symptoms right before her death and the fact she was recently in heat, I'm tempted to believe she had a pyometra that may have ruptured.


A pyometra is an infected uterus and we see this most commonly within a few weeks after a heat cycle, and on older dogs. Often, we see something called an 'open pyometra' where the dog has her heat cycle and then within a few weeks, the dog is lethargic, anorexic and has a foul smelling discharge from her vulva. These are dogs that generaly get to be on some antibiotics for a few days and then are spayed. However, there are also 'closed pyometras' where there may not be any tell-tale signs and no discharge, so they're often missed. Since you had only had her for a short time, she may have shown signs that she wasn't feeling well...but it's also possible it happened so suddenly that there was no sign. A necropsy will tell you more, and will likely give you some closure as to her cause of death.


I wish I were able to tell you what happened to your sweet girl, but I'm hopeful that the necropsy will give you the answers you're looking for.


Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your response. My biggest concern was that even though she is an adult dog, she may have had parvo. Not knowing her history, or that of our other dog, I am very concerned with possible contagions.

Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Parvo isn't generally as quick as this sounds like it was. However, that being said...since the girls have been homed together, even if it were parvo, then your girl would have already been exposed. Parvo is generally in the animal for about a week before we see the tell-tale symptoms.

I do feel like this was something related to her recent heat cycle...but make sure to keep an eye on the remaining puppy..just to be safe.
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15792
Experience: AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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